Welcome to the electronic newsletter for Canadians for a Safe Learning Environment (CASLE).
CASLE is a registered charity working to improve the condition of school buildings and the products and practices used in schools, so that students and staff have safe and healthy places to spend their days.
Book Review: The Toxic Schoolhouse
Schools should be safe and healthy places of learning for children, however this is not always the case. “The Toxic Schoolhouse” is a collection of articles on the environmental conditions found in schools in Canada and the United States. It is an update on articles previously published in “New Solutions: A Journal of Occupational and Environmental Policy”. While significant progress has been made in some areas, there is still a lot to be done in North America to make sure schools are truly safe and healthy buildings. CASLE, the Nova Scotia government and school boards have made Nova Scotia a leader in developing healthy schools, and these efforts are featured in a chapter of the book. Click here and read CASLE’s review of this publication.
The Northern Pulp Mill near Pictou, Nova Scotia is the sixth largest air polluter in Canada. The particulate emissions from this plant are larger than the combined output of all other industries in the Province of Nova Scotia
Chronic Air Pollution in Pictou
CASLE has been following the air quality issues associated with the Northern Pulp Mill located in Abercrombie, near Pictou Nova Scotia. This mill emits 63% of all the particulate air pollution in the Province of Nova Scotia which is more than every other industry combined. In 2012 Northern Pulp emitted a level of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) that put them 336,900 % above the Federal Reporting Threshold level as set by Environment Canada. The mill is Number 6 on the list of all of Canada’s top polluters. Area residents have called upon authorities to enforce regulations and the Province of Nova Scotia has given the mill until May to comply. The effects of the mill’s emissions on air quality have received international attention and have even drawn the attention of renowned US based activist Erin Brockovich.
According to the World Health Organization air pollution from PM2.5 is a large contributor / cause of: strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases including asthma.
CASLE has concerns about the health effects on students in schools in the area who are being exposed on a continuing basis to this unprecedented level of air pollution. We are making our concerns known and joining the groups advocating for the mill’s emissions to be brought into compliance with the law.
Due Diligence at work:
CASLE is pleased to see yet another example of the high level of diligence and response capability in Nova Scotia schools. J.L. Ilsley High School in Halifax was recently undergoing some roof repairs. Some material containing asbestos fell into a library area. CASLE notes that the school authorities acted quickly to determine the level of risk to students to ensure they were completely safe. All parents were informed of the situation by way of an automatic calling system, and assurances were quickly provided. Testing and cleaning was carried out immediately.
Visionary Leaders Across Sectors Issue a Renewed Vision for Protecting Children’s Environmental Health
In October, a historic meeting was convened by the Children’s Environmental Health Network at Wingspread, headquarters of the Johnson Foundation in Racine, Wisconsin. Visionary leaders representing perspectives from science, non-profit advocacy, environmental justice, child health, urban planning, academia, public health, business, economics, public policy, law, and agriculture gathered in urgent recognition that children are now being gripped by an epidemic of illnesses and chronic diseases linked to environmental exposures. Click on this link to read more.
Guide to School Administrators going on-line
Partnering with the Nova Scotia Department of Education CASLE is creating an on-line streamlined version and short video based on our Guide to School Administrators. In the meantime, the Department is circulating CASLE’s version in several ways, including in their newsletter Branching Out
New web site coming
CASLE will soon be launching a brand new web site with an improved look and feel. The web site contains a wide range of resources to help ensure our schools are healthy learning and work environments for students and staff. Our address will be the same www.casle.ca but watch for the new look.
Healthy Schools Day
National Healthy Schools Day will be April 7, 2015. Visit our web site and find out how you can join in this event from coast to coast.
CASLE was created by parents and those concerned with ensuring our children have the best and healthiest environment for learning and development.
To continue our work, we need your help.
CASLE is a proud partner in the Giving Tuesday Campaign.
On December 2nd, think of us as you make your generous charitable contributions.